The process of estate planning is sometimes oversimplified by people who do not look into the subject thoroughly. Some people think that a last will is all that you need, but in fact, a comprehensive estate plan will go further.
Plus, a last will is not always going to be the best choice as an asset transfer vehicle. One thing you have to understand about a will is that the administration of the estate would be supervised by the probate court. The will would be admitted to probate, and the court would oversee the estate administration process.
This is not inherently negative, but it may not always provide the best outcome for the rightful heirs to the estate. For one thing, probate is time-consuming, and inheritances cannot be distributed while the court is probating the estate. There are also expenses that can accumulate during the probate process.
As an alternative, you could use a revocable living trust. You do not lose control of the assets while you are living, but the trustee that you name in the document would be empowered to distribute assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes outside of probate after your passing.
This is just one of many different types of trusts that can be utilized. Your assets transfer strategy should be custom crafted to suit your unique personal situation.
Making sure that assets get into the hands of your loved ones after you are gone is part of the process, but your estate plan should also address end-of-life issues. One of them is the possibility of incapacity.
There are many different causes of incapacity as we all know, but Alzheimer’s disease is at the top of the list. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this disease strikes around 45 percent of the oldest old. Once you reach the age of 65, it becomes likely that you will live into your eighties, so this is something that you should take seriously.
If you do not take any action in advance to prepare for incapacity, a guardianship hearing could be convened, and the state could appoint someone to manage your affairs. You can prevent a guardianship and name your own hand-picked decision-makers if you execute durable powers of attorney.
Plus, if you have a living trust, you can empower a disability trustee to administer the trust in the event of your incapacitation.
If you are going through life without an estate plan, action is required. When you take the right steps in advance, you can prepare for the eventualities of aging as you simultaneously craft a suitable legacy.
We offer free consultations, and you can contact us through this page if you would like to set the wheels in motion: Grand Forks ND Estate Planning Attorneys.